OFFICIALS have recorded another acid attack in the capital, the ninth reported assault this year, as a committee continues to mull over a proposed law meant to counter the violent crimes.
The latest attack happened Tuesday evening in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district, when assailants on a motorbike poured a beer bottle full of acid on a couple as they were on their way home from a restaurant, authorities said.
“They poured acid into a bottle of Angkor beer and then [later] doused the victims,” said Tan Narin, the governor of Toek Thla commune. “But they were not so seriously injured because the offenders used a weak form of acid.”
The governor identified the victims as Chhiv Sreyleak, 25, and her boyfriend, Hen Kosal, 24. The woman suffered injuries to her face and parts of her body, and the man sustained injuries to his back, he said.
Tan Narin said investigators suspect the attack was the result of a “love triangle”.
However, authorities reported difficulties in conducting an investigation because the victims have not cooperated, refusing to meet with police. “It is difficult to arrest the perpetrators because neither of the victims is cooperating with the police,” said Kith Sophal, the military police chief in Sen Sok district.
Chhun Sophea, programme manager of the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC), said Tuesday’s incident was the ninth such assault recorded by the CASC so far this year. The charity recorded 12 attacks for all of last year.
The trend is further proof of the need for strict regulations on the sale of the corrosive liquid, she said. “Acid is sold everywhere in our country. It’s very easy for people who want to buy and use it to douse others.”
A Ministry of Interior committee examining acid crimes is drafting a new to regulate acid sales and punish perpetrators of the attacks. The move represents a sudden turnaround for government officials, who as recently as January said it would be too difficult to impose such regulations.
Teng Savong, secretary of state at the ministry and head of the committee looking at drafting the law, said the group is preparing to reconvene later this month. The committee is expected to flesh out its current proposal with the aim of sending a final draft to lawmakers after the upcoming Khmer New Year.